Fillafer, Franz


Austrian Academy of Science, Institute of Cultur Studies and Theatre History, Austria


Max Weber alumnus

Department of History and Civilization

Cohort(s): 2014/2015

Ph.D. Institution

University of Konstanz, Germany


I am a historian of Central and Western Europe whose work to date has focused on the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. After holding positions in Göttingen, Cambridge, and London, I have served as a fellow and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Konstanz since 2009. In London and Konstanz I have taught a variety of subjects in early modern and modern European history. Apart from my core interests in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, I also work on twentieth-century intellectual history, mostly on Germany and East Central Europe after 1945, as well as on the history of music.
In my PhD, defended in November 2012, I looked at the Enlightenment and its legacies in the Habsburg lands. Here I tried to reconstruct the diversity of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment with its rival strands – such as physiocracy and mercantilism, natural jurisprudence and the historical study of law, the discourse of natural religion, Baroque scholasticism, Kantian kerygmatics and soteriology – and I connected this emphasis with a study of how the Enlightenment became historical in the nineteenth century. By looking closely at the scholarly practices and at the modes of conceptual refurbishment employed in this process of historicization I was able to map how the Enlightenment acquired what we take to be its quintessentially modern traits today, namely rationalism, the mechanical worldview, and deism. While the Enlightenment was refashioned, another important process unfolded simultaneously: the patterns of historical self-perception were disentangled from the level of intellectual practices. This means that Enlightenment imperatives and scholarly methods continued to be used by those who repudiated the Enlightenment for political reasons, but their original context and conditions of emergence were eclipsed.

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